As budget business continues for both Inyo and Mono Counties, Assistant Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carruncio reports that Inyo county has received a USDA grant to look into marketing and selling grass fed beef from the Eastern Sierra.
The idea is to give the economy a small boost by looking into the possibility of selling grass fed or organic beef. Carrunchio explained that right now the cows and sheep that live and grow in the Eastern Sierra have to be shipped out of the area to processed and inspected before they end up as food.
The $67,000 USDA grant will be used to explore possibilities like building a processing plant here as well as the marketing of grass fed beef, rather than the corn fed variety from the big feedlots.
With people elsewhere paying more for grass fed beef, Carrunchio says that most of the cows here are already grass fed. More money for the beef would in theory mean more money for local ranchers and there is also the possibility of a few additional jobs if the animals were processed locally. If there is a market for it, we should take advantage of it, he says.
The USDA grant money is just to look into the possibilities that surround locally produced grass fed beef. Carrunchio explained that if the numbers pencil out and local ranchers and businesses are interested, the USDA has many more grants for sustainable agriculture that the county could pursue to get actual marketing and processing up and running.